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Pizza Hut testing plant-based sausage served in Zume round box

Arizona unit will sell for one day a plant-based pizza served in a plant fiber box for $10

A Pizza Hut unit in Arizona is testing a plant-based sausage topping and serving it on a pie stuffed inside a round planet-friendly pizza box.

Taking a cue from sister brand KFC, Pizza Hut is offering the plant-based product by MorningStar Farms for one day starting Oct. 23, the company announced Tuesday morning. In late August, KFC, a division of Yum Brands, tested Beyond Fried Chicken for one day at one store in Atlanta. The plant-based chicken nuggets and boneless wings by Beyond Meat sold out in less than five hours.

Plano, Texas-based Pizza Hut is calling its plant-based pizza, Garden Specialty Pizza.  It will be available in-store for one day at a restaurant in Phoenix. Proceeds from the sale of the plant-based pizza, served in the round box for $10, will be donated to a Phoenix-based sustainability organization.

“I can’t wait to share these two new industry-changing innovations with our customers,” Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, said in a statement.

Pizza Hut said the one-day test will determine if the chain plans to roll out the new packaging nationwide. The box is made with plant fiber. 

“Following the event in Phoenix, Pizza Hut will look at ways to roll the box out more widely in the near future,” the company said.

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The chain partnered with Zume Inc. to design the round “industrially compostable” box which resembles a clamshell-style box, in terms of functionality.

"We put our world-class design, manufacturing and sustainability teams to work, to meet the specific hot, fast and reliable qualities synonymous with Pizza Hut’s brand," Zume said in a Tuesday blog post.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, formerly known as Zume Pizza, is earning a reputation as a key technology provider of sustainable solutions for the food industry.

Zume first gained attention for their robot pizza operation, which is still in operation in Silicon Valley.  Now Zume, Inc. runs a few different offshoots including Zume Forward, which launched a mobile kitchen with fast casual pizza brand, &pizza last month.  Earlier this year, Zume bought Pivot Packaging, a sustainable products manufacturer with a 70,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Southern California. The round box is made of sustainably harvested plant fiber with a smooth finish, providing a "beautiful and industrially compostable" alternative to cardboard, Zume said.

“We’re thrilled to support Pizza Hut’s packaging efforts to provide its fans with a great pizza-eating experience,” Alex Garden, CEO of Zume, said in a statement. 

Pizza Hut said the round box is sealed using interlocking technology that ensures a smoother delivery.

“In other words, no pizza insurance policy needed,” the chain said, referring to the “carryout insurance” policy of its rival Domino’s Pizza.

The new Garden Specialty Pizza is a large hand-tossed crust pizza featuring MorningStar Farms’ Incogmeato Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and banana peppers. 

MorningStar Farms is a division of the Kellogg Company. 

Wendy Davidson, president of Kellogg Away from Home, said the company is excited to partner with Pizza Hut “to develop a tasty, first-ever plant-based pizza to satisfy what flexitarians are seeking today.”

The Phoenix restaurant serving the pizza and round box is at 3602 E. Thomas Road.

Pizza Hut has more than 18,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.  

Contact Nancy Luna at nancy.luna@informa.com 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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